“Ay calor!”… Things are heating up in Rio!

If I leave Rio having learnt just one new word, it would have to be “calor“- “heat“. And to say it the correct Carioca way would simply be (with lots of sensuality);

Ay Calooor!”

Don’t forget to repeat it at least 5 times to yourself and anyone else around you- just in case they too have to be reminded just how hot it is!

And things are certainly heating up in Rio de Janeiro!

My flat mate Nubia, a Portuguese teacher, is keeping me informed of this as, for some reason, I seem to be immune to the heat. I subconsciously think it’s because I don’t feel I have a right to complain. If I were in London I’d be freezing, so I’m taking ‘the scorching heat’ with a pinch of salt.

Proof that dark skin burns! Lesson learnt! Sal island, CV
Proof that dark skin burns! Lesson learnt! Sal island, CV

However with temperatures reaching as high as 47°C in the last few days- the hottest since 1915 according to Climatempo Institute (riotimesonline.com), it would be a crime to head out into the sun without sun protection… And even black skin needs sun block! Boy did I learn the hard way in Cabo Verde! Skin as dark as mine can burn so protect yourself!

Climbing a volcano... with no sun protection at high altitude! Big mistake!
Climbing a volcano in Cabo Verde… with no sun protection at high altitude! Big mistake!

My main reason for ‘shying away’ from using conventional sun block (besides the fact that it isn’t readily advertised for black skin) is due to the pasty white residue it leaves on my skin. When I use it on my face; I look and feel like a clown!

However there are other options available. I choose moisturisers with SPF. Many cosmetic brands produce particularly face moisturisers with sun protection factor. But don’t neglect other parts of the body exposed to the sun- the shoulders are prone to sun burn!

Also drink lots of water… and shake things up with freshly squeezed citrus juices to refresh the body.

I would also recommend drinking tea, but then that’s the British in me! I’m living proof that tea keeps me cool. But try on your own accord.

All in all, simply use the ‘heat’ as an excuse to chill out at the beach… Like a true Carioca!


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